CIOs Lose Control over Tech but gain More Collaboration and Influence

“The CIO’s role continues to grow in influence, with a vision for the organization at the highest level, to drive organizational change and significantly impact company performance in brand new ways” –  Harvey Nash USA president and CEO Bob Miano

More than one in five CIOs, believe that their direct control over technology has diminished over time. Using a benchmark at the start of the recession, whilst the proportion of companies, where more than ten per cent of technology spend lies outside the control of the IT department, CIOs have seen it almost doubled to 40 per cent in the last three years. According to a survey carried out by Harvey Nash, todays CIOs have now recognized that their roles are important, but are beginning to determine that their value is now being measured through influence and collaboration rather than being in control of  technological assets.


Todays CIOs are rapidly evolving into multi-skilled and more collaborative, business-facing executives and is this shift is affecting the dynamics of the boardroom. The study revealed that UK CIOs in particular felt more innovative, entrepreneurial and business-facing than they did prior to the financial crisis. They have learnt to be more cost-conscious, multi-skilled and diverse. Perhaps it is a case of doing more with less.

CIOs are losing more direct control of their technology vision and sharing it with other departments, marketing in particular. According to a TechRepublic article, technology chiefs and marketing executives are in conflict over what is the right strategy for their company’s mobile applications and who should be leading the new initiatives. Referring to another report, commissioned by Netbiscuits “the CMO’s determination to be the driving force in determining mobile web strategy is leading them to be the aggressor in the C-suite battle with the CIO”.

A growing number of CIOs are nervously observing that more than 10 percent of their budgets is controlled outside of the IT department: 38 percent today, compared to 34 percent in 2012 and 26 percent in 2011. Meanwhile Marketing, Sales and specialist Digital teams are increasingly becoming tech owners. The report cites one third (33 per cent) of digital projects are owned and run by marketing alone and a further 42 per cent are jointly run by IT and marketing. Commenting on the stats, Albert Ellis, CEO Harvey Nash Group said:

“As technology has become pervasive and central to business, the CIO is increasingly no longer the only executive around the board room table responsible for the procuring and management of technology. The CIO of the future will be increasingly required to influence the business rather than merely controlling systems and hardware. The shock finding in this survey is that the relationship with the sales and marketing function requires more work; a critical area given the growing importance of digital, mobile and social media.”

I think CIOs need not worry since besides new opportunities on the horizon, the growth in Bring Your Own Device should offer more opportunities for savvy CIOs to stamp an IT footprint well outside other areas of his department.